Lymphoma … very long.

I apologize for my lack of participation. With my own health issues, the loss of my niece and best friend and one of my Rotties last year, another close friend this year, my postings have been rare.

However I wanted to share and see if others have had similar experiences and really just let others know what has happened here.

As some may recall, about 3 yrs ago we went through strange inflammations, 3 surgeries, massive testing etc w/ Sayblee and the final dx being some autoimmune problem. She had been doing find for about 1 1/2 yrs.

Then in April Sayblee's jowls blew up like balloons, felt her knees and found lumps there also… Lymphoma dx on April 8. It has been a total roller coaster.

First chemo (btw ALL lymphnodes went away overnight) no support given, no return calls when she was crashing, had to take to another vet. Both my vet and new very openly said the 1st (largest near me so I THOUGHT best) notorious for doing that, then charging for hospitalization. She was in such distress she literally was throwing up bowel movements.

We tried to continue the Wisconsin protocol, 2rd treatment crashed. Sadly, it led to her kidneys shutting down. We put her in hospital, were able to get them working (still considered kidney failure but doing okay with subq fluids). The vet feels she had ongoing kidney disease that the crash simply pushed it over the edge. We do urine strips regularly but I had them test her to make sure not fanconi... nope.

One worrisome thing I need to share was some calcification. The chemo vet thinks it may be related to simply giving her Vitamin C supplement. She said she NEVER EVER recommends it because it only changes urine pH, doesn't treat ANY problem that pH balance would be caused by, and... like Sayblee... can result in calcification. She does not feel it was significant enough to be an issue yet, but needless to say I threw out my Vit C that I have been giving my dogs for 10 yr. Little or no benefit, very slight but deadly side effect... throw it out.

Because of kidneys, decided to try a new protocol usually used as "rescue" (ie when the normal chemo won't get back in remission) called Lomustine. Had her on it 2 treatments, so suppressed her bone marrow that even with shot to boost, afraid to try again as usually when get that low with THAT drug it doesn't recover. So we went back to a modified Wisconsin with just Vincristine & Cyclophoshamide w/steroids.

To sort of be concise, we have had reactions to 2 types of steroids so far, trying 3rd. She has had only TWO treatments when were supposed to. Every other time CBC so bad had to wait for blood values to come up.

So in almost 4 mos, instead of having had over 16 treatments, she has probably managed 7. And instead of the estimed $2600 for the whole thing, we are well over $4000 and very little chemo, mostly support meds/treatments recovering FROM the chemo.

On the upside, she keeps responding well to the chemo, even when they cut the last dose in half. However, she got sick, had to wait 2 wks and the lymphoma is back in her face and neck with a vengeance. But except that first treatment, she has been very normal, doing great. So how do you quit when they won't?

My chemo vet said she has never had a dog who has had so much problems with everything done. And I am wondering if others have had particularly rough roads with chemo with their senji?

As for Sayblee, this last chemo hasn't done much. We will try the new steroid tonight (waiting for the pharmacy to call) and if that doesn't do it, we'll give another round of the other drug next week. At that point, I may have to accept that we are not going to get her back into remission.

I started this with such hope, an 85 to 90 percent chance of remission for a year or more, so many people with dog 5 to 7 yrs out and her everything going for her... feeling good, being only 7, healthy. Now I know we are simply treading water and going on as long as I can give her quality weeks.

Had anyone told me I would need close to $5000, brink of financial ruin (have had major electrical rewiring and other things before this so it could not possibly have come at worse time), to buy her 4 or 5 mos.. of course I would never have done it. But I couldn't not try when we had good odds. And at least when the time comes, I know I did everything I could.

I do think that her immune issues are a big part of it. She has so little natural reserve.

I'm so sorry for all you have been through. You're an amazing person to continue all that you're doing for your B. You'll both be in my thoughts and prayers. I'm sorry I can't offer any advice, just support.

Hey Debra….
Long time no hear..... from you.... so sorry about Sayblee.... fingers crossed that she responds to treatment.....

Oh, my, what you have been through.
Bless your and your b's heart.
Nothing else to add but my prayers.

My dogs don't have cancer, but Miles is covered with lumps. For now they are "fatty cysts" but I always fear that something like your situation would happen to us. I'm so sorry to hear about all that you're going through. My dogs are my children and mean more to me than a lot of people do. You're an absolutely amazing person to sacrafice so much for little girl. You have stood by her, loyal and true- just as she has done for you all these years.

One of my favorite dog quotes:

Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest–and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

— By Beth Norman Harris

** You know, you might enjoy the book, "Chicken Soup: For the Dog Lovers Soul". It's been a really great read for me.

Hugs and prayers for you and your family, both two and four legs.

Thank all of you. This is so unbelievably hard, she is my heart dog. When I lost my chow Bridget 12 yrs ago I swore I would NEVER let a dog mean so much again that I was that devastated at their passing. And then came Sayblee, who in her first years would lay on me in the morning either patting my face with her paws or putting her nose on mine so that I woke to her staring into my eyes. She starts my morning, she waits for me to go to bed.. no matter how cold I have it in my bedroom. And if I get up in the night, she has to lay on my pillow to keep the pillow thief from snatching it, I guess. And unless she is mad at me, she curls next to me all night.

I know that for dogs, they don't really know if they live a week or a year so quality is what counts. And I would never let her suffer. But I need every minute with her that I can have of good quality. I cannot imagine my life without her. I know you all understand.

Debra…I have no experience with cancer in my own dog, but I have some friends that have twice now had Goldens that have had cancer. Currently their 4yo Golden Chance is on chemo treatments. I would say the first couple rounds of chemo, they were seriously considering putting Chance to sleep because he had such a rough time of it. However, this most recent round, he seems to be doing much better, had a much less difficult time of it and even is starting to seem like his old self. I hope that Sayblee maybe has less difficulty as her treatments continue.

As I'm sure you can relate...if you saw the amount of pills they have to give him (anti nausea, anti diahreal, appetite booster, the list goes on and on), I wonder how they can do it.

So my heart really goes out to you. I'm glad you found a vet you are happier with and is more helpful to you. There is nothing sadder IMHO to see an animal sick and try everything to help them and still be unsure about the quality of life they have. Hugs to you...I've seen how hard this can all be.

@BDawg:

My dogs don't have cancer, but Miles is covered with lumps. For now they are "fatty cysts" but I always fear that something like your situation would happen to us. I'm so sorry to hear about all that you're going through. My dogs are my children and mean more to me than a lot of people do. You're an absolutely amazing person to sacrafice so much for little girl. You have stood by her, loyal and true- just as she has done for you all these years.

One of my favorite dog quotes:

Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest–and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

— By Beth Norman Harris

** You know, you might enjoy the book, "Chicken Soup: For the Dog Lovers Soul". It's been a really great read for me.

Hugs and prayers for you and your family, both two and four legs.

BDawg…ok, that made me cry. 😞

The hardest part of being a dog owner is letting our dogs go to the next world without us.
I do believe we see our beloved animals again…
Hugs, hugs, hugs.

DDS-
Seems like I first cybermet you years, and years ago on another forum that has since gone extinct. I think it was about the time you first got Sayblee. I'm sorry to hear she isn't feeling well. Unfortunately I don't have any ideas, but I wanted you to know we're thinking about you and Sayblee.

@renaultf1:

As I'm sure you can relate…if you saw the amount of pills they have to give him (anti nausea, anti diahreal, appetite booster, the list goes on and on), I wonder how they can do it.

I'm glad you found a vet you are happier with and is more helpful to you.

Yeah, she has a pill for appetite, carafate for stomach, antinausea, antidiahrea (those 2 just 2 days after chemo unless a problem), the subq fluids w/vit b complex, prilosec w/ low dose steroid now, and thanks to 2 bouts of cellulites (yes am VERY careful and scrub and know how to maintain but she still has gotten it so now we have her side shaved … won't let us use neck.. and use Hibaclens) finishing up antibiotics. I feel like a pharmacy.

As for the vets, anyone in the GA area I cannot say enough about Loving Hands animal hospital. The vet calls me at least 3 times a week, her assistant another 2 or 3.. sometimes to check on Sayblee, sometimes to check on me. I have the assistance's cell phone so I can call her day or night if I need anything. The love and care from them is unbelievable and I am so grateful.

After her getting Chemo at the Ga Vet Specialists and crashing, they wouldn't call me back for 3 days and I had to take her to my own vet for diarrhea & nausea meds. While there I called Loving Hands and they took my message. I hadn't even finished up when the vet called me back (it was about 6:30 pm) and said she'd see me as soon as I could get Sayblee into her. Thank goodness as she went down LITERALLY in the car on the way there throwing up feces. I am sure my vets could have hospitalized and saved her but it was great to have the chemo vet doing it, staying there til almost 10 pm before they felt she was stable enough to take home. (Said since comfortable with subq fluids, no reason to hospitalize her.)

And yeah, like the golden, we all kept thinking that we would be able to get her on the right dosage to no crash her, just hasn't happened.

I just wanted to say I am glad not hearing a lot of other lymphoma issues in all of your dogs. I was worried might be a breed related issue.

Well she is still holding her own, tolerated the last 2 chemos a bit better (but half dose) so had full dose this week. She still seems mostly her old self.

This is a hard post to write, and if you have mean things to say, well, I don't care. Sometimes you just have no choice.

Actually the hardest thing is that Sayblee is doing very good with the newest chemo routine but we have simply run out of any possible funds, credit cards maxed out, for first time ever late on bills. We just don't have any money to continue. I cried all day Mon and Tues but called and told vet we have to stop. We'll give her just the steroids and hope that with it and the cheap oral one we can give her a couple of more months. We are now $5000 in debt not counting probably 300 worth of gasoline costs. It isn't even that I have a choice, we simply don't have any more.

And while if they could CURE her I'd sell belongings, beg family & friends & strangers, whatever, the truth is we could do everything and still only buy her a year if that. So that has me very sad even though I know that it simply is reality. We would need at LEAST another $2000 just to finish out the new round if it went perfect, and nothing with Sayblee has gone even approaching okay.

I don't want my daughter's senior year to be about finances so bad she won't even ask to go to the movies much less the normal senior year things. I don't want her last year to be memories of me crying over Sayblee and the financial stress. I started this with the full knowledge that it was for ME to have Sayblee, but now the stress is wiping out any pretense that this is good for my mental or physical health.

So even though she has responded well, is perky and bratty and happy, I can't buy her much more time. But I do know she has been loved every minute of her snarky little life and that I truly tried hard. As the vet said, even with full treatment that went RIGHT, about half the dogs don't make it six mos and she will probably at least hit that mark.

So sorry your dog is not well and not many people would have done what you have done. My dog has a little lump on her side and the vet said it would disappear, I'll go and see another vet after having read your story. Keep strong, I know that you find it hard (lost my Vickie last year who had been poisonned by rat poison -will never know who had the heart to poison her-, the vet had another dog next to her ready for blood transfusion, but her kidneys collapsed despite huge input of vitamin K, she died after 3 days of intensive care) I had sworn not to take another dog but…when I saw my Basenji alone in a cage in the Dog and cats home, I knew, it was the right thing to do. Vets do what they can but we have to be careful not to let our animals suffer for the sake of trying new treatments. My mum had a puddle who had bowel cancer, we had to get him put down as he was suffering too much despite treatment. However, if you dog is making progress, keep at it and do what you can. Bon courage, my thoughts are with you.

I'm so sorry you and Sayblee both have to go through this all. My first Vizsla got a mast cell tumor. Long story short…after two operations, 3 months of chemo and so many meds it was hard to count, the cancer won and we had to say goodbye...she was just a few months past her 6th birthday.

You've done what you can physically, emotionally and monetarily for Sayblee, you've loved her and comforted her through it all...that's all you can do. There are those out there that wouldn't drain themselves or their finances to do what you have.

Cherish the time you have left and when the time comes to say goodbye, know you did everything you could to give her the best life she could have. You are both blessed to have shared your lives with each other.

My heart aches for you both.

Sending many hugs,
Lynn

Debra, I really don't know how anyone could say anything mean to you about your post. You've done everything (and more than most would) you can for Sayblee. I know it isn't easy…don't be hard on yourself. You and your family deserve some joy especially after all you've been thru and all you've done.

My heart really goes out to you. And like Rivermoon said, just try to enjoy the time you have left with her. She is lucky to have such a loving owner!

I'm sure, as you said, that if a CURE was possible you would sacrifice everything. But when only a few extra months of life are possible you are forced to do a "reality check" and realize that keeping her comfortable and happy for her remaining time is the best course for you now. Sayblee has been well loved and you have done everything possible to extend her life. You have other family to consider at this time, and that is just a fact of life, no one would think badly of you for doing what you have to do.

Hugs,
Anne in Tampa

Thank all of you. I was a bit afraid to sign on.

I too have said I wouldn't get another dog when these go, but I expected to lose my 10 1/2 yr old rottie and 11 yr old chow, not my young basenji.

She is still feeling pretty good, got up on freezer to steal food, dumped the trash this morning. Okay she feels very good. For now good days are what counts.

I'm so sorry to hear this. It's a hard descision, but of course you can not bankrupt yourself to have Sayblee there for just a few more months. I feel so bad for you. I hope you have more good days than bad.

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